Move over kale, there’s a new superfood in town: bacon flavored seaweed! Scientists at Oregon State University have developed a new food item that experts are already saying could be the most nutrient-packed food to date.
When Abalone Food Becomes Human Food
According to Chris Langdon, of Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, the bacon flavored seaweed was originally developed to be a superfood to feed abalone. The newly announced superfood, known as dulse, had been growing in Oregon State University’s laboratories for 15 years. When researchers fed it to abalone, they found that the resulting growth rate of the abalone was much higher than previously expected. Despite growing interest in developing the lab-grown dulse for human consumption, the researchers had only focused on using it to feed the abalone.
The bacon flavored seaweed began a transition to other possible uses, such as human consumption, after Chuck Toombs of Oregon State University’s College of Business saw it growing in Langdon’s office. He was looking for a new project for his business students to take up, so he collaborated with the Food Innovation Center at OSU and they began to develop food items using the bacon flavored seaweed as the main ingredient.
What is Dulse?
Dulse is a wild seaweed, also referred to as palmaria, which grows along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It is a lucrative ocean plant, as when it is dried out it is known to have gone for up to $90 per pound.
The newly developed strain of dulse created by the scientists at Oregon State University looks similar to red algae and is translucent. It is said to somewhat resemble translucent red lettuce and is packed with 16 percent of protein and several antioxidants when it is dried out. This particular strain apparently takes on a very strong bacon flavor when it is fried.
Bacon Flavored Seaweed Brings Dulse to America
According to Langdon, Europeans have been using dulse in powder or flake form and adding it to their dishes when they cook, but there hasn’t been much interest in the fresh version. Dulse has been a popular food item in Europe for many years, but across the ocean in the United States, no one has really heard of it. Now that there is a possibility of commercializing its production in American labs, however, this bacon flavored seaweed might just grow in popularity and overtake kale as the most talked about superfood.